Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Mamia Days Out Challange

I`m Alice aged 16 months, strutting my holiday style

 This post is an entry for BritMums #MamiaDaysOut Linky Challenge, sponsored by Aldi Mamia. < >

Me and big sister Isabella having fun with Mum

Mummy got a lovely hamper from Aldi

A lovely wicker hamper basket arrived full of wonderful organic food and drink from Aldi. The range is designed specifically for two year olds and under.

This #MamiaDaysOut Challenge was organized through Britmums.  It was a great chance to see if Alice aged 16 months and her sister Isabella, almost 3 liked the range.

I can see you!
I like this apple and pear fruit pot
I`m phoning my daddy

The hamper contained Apple and Pear fruit pots, junior rice cakes, main meal stage 1 pouches, fruit puree pouches and apple with blackcurrant juice. All organic and made from the best ingredients. Exactly what you want to give your children.

They are so convenient with easy to pack pouches which little mouths can just eat straight from the pack. Aldi even added a £5 voucher to buy some nappies and wipes. We had a indoor teddy bear picnic at my aunts house. 

This apple and blackcurrant drink is yummy

Alice and Isabella enjoying their drinks

 Isabella loves the fruit pouches.

I like this one and my sister is not getting it.

The range was a big hit with the children and with Aldi`s low prices it is so easy to just pack and go. I liked that the pouches are not only healthy and organic but they are light weight too. With all the stuff you need to carry around with little ones that`s a bonus! 


Sunday, 11 September 2016

Fabulous Fort William

Fancy a trip to the fabulous Fort William in Scotland then jump aboard and come along for the ride.

Fort William View from Hotel

Once again I am returning to the fabulous Scotland. I went to Edinburgh last year and Inverness the year before.

I got my tickets 12 weeks before I travelled on the Caledonian Sleeper Train from London Euston to Fort William.

I paid £36.20 each way using a railcard and choosing a seat rather than a sleeping option. I only had a small budget and always travel as frugally as possible.

The seats are large recliners and very comfortable from Euston to Edinburgh.  From Edinburgh to Fort William it is just a normal train carriage.

View from my hotel room

I stayed three nights in Clan Macduff Hotel

Which had stunning views and great food.  I paid £225 for a single room with breakfast for three nights. This worked out much cheaper than the local Travelodge at £100 per night without breakfast. The room was lovely with a side view of the Loch and Mountains. 

The restaurant is good too, lovely choice of breakfast and evening meals are very reasonable. I paid £24 for a three course meal with a glass of wine.

Fort William itself is a real hub of activity as climbers head to Ben Nevis or people set off walking or cycling. Then there are connecting services for ferries to Skye as well as the famous Steam train ride through the highlands. Think Harry Potter and the famous arched Viaduct.

Highlands Viaduct

I went on the famous Jacobite steam train  and paid £34 return, it is the most amazing train journey through lochs and mountains. The views are truly magnificent. 

The Jacobite Steam Train - think Harry Potter

I also took the same train route using the ordinary train service the next day and paid £9.40 return. Same train line, same views, again stunning. The journey lasts around 90 minutes each way. It is fantastic value for money.  

 Jacobite Steam Train

The train takes you to Malliag which is a small harbor town. I took a three hour boat trip from here which cost £20 and was beautiful. It heads out of the harbor were a few dolphins hurried across the waves, towards the mountains and makes two stops.

Malliag Harbor

The mountains loom in front of you and you expect Viking ships to be hiding behind them. It is a joy to feel the sea spray jumping up and see the remote houses of the hardy people who live here.  

Boat Trip from Malliag


In Fort William this boat trip and lunch deal is a must  

Jacobite Steam Train stopping at Malliag

 I saw seals on this trip as well as a very clear view of the famous Ben Nevis. Which to me looked like a large grey Rhino lying on top of the hills, all grey and craggy!

I was lucky with the weather on my trip and only got a few showers during the mornings. I went at the end of August.

View of the highlands from train stop

The people are friendly and you hear accents from lots of different countries. I felt very comfortable there traveling alone. Prices are good for food I paid £7.00 for fish and chips and tea. There is a little bakery in Fort William on the high street were you can buy carrot cake and tea for £2. Pretty good value and there are the usual places to eat cheaply like supermarket cafes.

Highland viewed from train

I loved it, it is unspoiled, wild and magnificent and I would certainly go again

tags, Jacobite Stream Train, Scotland, Highlands, Malliag, 

Monday, 29 August 2016

Matched Betting Review - Is Profit Accumulator For You

I have read so much about match betting that I decided to give it a try. I took advantage of the 7 day free trial from Profit Accumulator. 

Here is what you will need to consider

         You will need to tie up some of your income in a betting exchange to cover your lay bets ( see  7 day free trial above) or the free excellent Matched Betting Guidelines on

2     You will need money to open accounts with sites such as Coral who offer a  free betting bonus for new customers. These bonuses are essential to making a profit.

3     Profit Accumulator will not tell you that you may also get money from Topcashback or Quidco for joining these sites.   Some survey sites offer points for joining betting sites. Mintvine offers 3,300 for joining some. You have to wait for your cashback but still its useful to know. Join directly via the cashback site and not via the referral link on Profit Accumulator.

4      If like me you have previously opened accounts to take advantage of the bingo offers you will find you are not getting `Free bets`  You are not a new customer. No point  thinking the site won`t know, it will and it will take your money and let you bet. It just won`t give you the much needed bonus.

5      The only way to make any decent money is if you are a new customer, have a large float or get very lucky like the lady who won several thousand on a slot spin offer. As she says though that was luck.

6     You need a dedicated bank account really to keep track of your finances. If you have a bad credit history you could open the ffrees online current account. Check it out it does cost 5 per month. Barclays and RSB offer basic account, as do some other banks.

7      If you sign up for Profit accumulators monthly deal that will cost 22.99 a month.

       I did this just so I could give the system a fair go, cancelled it now so I will only pay for one month.

9    It is easy to make a mistake even following all the information. I made a few silly errors like not getting free bets as I had an account previously. 

1   I bet on a football match to draw then lay it to lose not knowing it is the same thing.

1   Some of the top up offers are not for the inexperienced, and Profit Accumulator does state this. Some of the sites look at best doggy and some of the wagering requirements if you do take up an offer are ridiculous. I have seen some for 30 or 50 times the bonus. So if they give you a ten pound bonus you would need to win 300 or 500 before you could withdraw any money.

1  I  understand people do make money on Match Betting but it is not for you if you don`t have the money to `Float` it properly. The videos and software on Profit Accumulator make it easier and the forums are helpful. Though most of the useful information is only available once you pay the monthly premium. Again has free excellent advice. 

 Match Betting is not for me I can`t afford it. My fridge needs food and my electric meter needs feeding. I made 32 pound, spend 22.99 on a months membership. So total profit 9 pound.  Good luck if you try it.

Tags,Matched betting, Profit accumulator, finance, ffbank,

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Celebrating with My First Petits Filous

Alice`s first Christmas, Isabella and cousin Brooke won`t take off their goggles, I think they are hoping for snow.
Isabella meets her sister Alice for the first time.
We can go now Mum the lights on green, who doesn`t like sitting upstairs in the front of the bus. Whenever we are out and about I pack a lunchbox for Isabella as she is a fussy eater. I always include some Petits filous as they are her favourite.
Isabella having fun with her cousins, she would play all day and now she is two  and she has now started nursery school. She takes a packed lunch and chooses most of her own food  to go in her lunch box that includes strawberry petits filous.
Isabella meets a snake for the first time
Alice`s first Birthday, wow were did that year go
 Alice is full of energy and now she is one she eats most things but insists on feeding herself.  My first Petits filous are ideal, they are low sugar little pots of goodness. Fromage Frais, provides your child with Calcium and Vitamin D, which as part of a healthy diet, help build strong bones.
Alice is one and off out on her bike, she`s an outdoor girl and has just started walking. Another first to celebrate.
Alice always wants to feed herself now, she will eat almost anything luckily but weaning her was difficult at times. I like the small pots of petits filous because there is not much waste and she likes the tastes.
Isabella feeding her toy monkey
 Such busy days with two under three`s! They are always on the go, feeding the ducks in the park or playing with friends in the garden.

“This post is an entry for BritMums #PetitsFilousFirsts Linky Challenge, sponsored by Petits Filous``

Woburn Safari Park, seeing all the animals for the first time. Isabella wanted to play with the Giraffes.
cuddles with Mum


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Edinburgh Castle

Spending a few days in Edinburgh on a much needed break I booked into Edinburgh Metro Youth Hostel which was excellent. I had my own room in a flat with six bedrooms, shared kitchen and sitting area. I chose an all female flat and having two bathrooms was useful. It was clean, had 24 hour reception and free internet access.

This cost £25 per night and was minutes away from the Royal Mile, right behind the Radisson Blu Hotel which would have cost so much more. All ages were staying in the hostel flats including families.

Edinburgh Youth Hostel
11 Robinson`s Close
Cowgate EH1 1LY

First stop then the Castle!

Overlooking the City of Edinburgh is the magnificent Edinburgh Castle, walk up the steep cobbled street to a piper playing the bagpipes and time itself slips.

The Castle is an imposing site, its dark brick walks add a air of menace and you think it would need a brave army to try and overrun this city.
Edinburgh Castle

The Castle has been added to over the centuries, so it is a jigsaw of styles and alleyways.

It houses an impressive collection of military history, from grand swords and flags to shaving cups and books from the fallen.

Edinburgh Castle

The Scottish Crown Jewels are worth queueing to see as the Coronation Crown of Mary Queen of Scots gleams on its red cushion. The Sword of State is so grand it eclipses the one in the Tower of London and the Sceptre is stunning. The Stone of Destiny takes its worth place next to the Crown.

Stop at the whiskey sampling shop to revive your windswept self or try the tea-rooms, afternoon tea £16 pp. I had vegetable soup there which to be honest was quite bland £5.50 and coffee for £2.50.

The famous one-o-clock gun, which, of courses, goes off at 1pm is very loud and has been fired  everyday since the 1920`s.

1pm Gun

The entrance fast track fee to the Castle is £16 but I bought my ticket as part of a two-day tour buses, ticket to Castle, Palace and Royal Yacht Britannia deal. I paid £43 as a senior. Very good value as the tour buses are hop on hop off all day tickets.

Castle Entrance

Allow yourself a few hours to make the most of seeing the Castle you wont be disappointed and the views over the city are fabulous.

View of city from Castle

Military Museum in Castle

Friday, 5 June 2015

Supporting Katrina with her Cancer Battle


Last June we celebrated Katrina, then 32 being given the all clear from mouth cancer. She had been through surgery, tongue reconstruction, losing all her teeth and having to be fed long term via a stomach tube . She had chemo and radiotherapy.

We went to Scotland, saw Whales and dolphins, and had a meal at the Shard. It was an amazing weekend. I am very thankful I enter competitions as that weekend was a win from Nutella. Katrina her  hubby Richard, brother Anthony and myself went.

Just one year later and Katrina now has secondary cancer in her left lung, kidney and ribs. We don`t know what her doctors will advise next but it is so sad to think her battle has to start again. She only got some false top teeth a few weeks ago.  
Teeth at last

I don`t know how to support her but I will as will her brothers and wider family. We like her have no choice.

Life is very strange, last week I was in Liverpool celebrating my sisters 75th birthday, this week I am howling like a banshee at the injustice of it all. I`m 60 why can`t it be me.

Why am I writing this in a blog post? I don`t know - maybe because its late and my legs are aching from all the walking I have done. Walking clears the head a bit doesn`t it. 

Maybe because I know that other people have to deal with so much more. Katrina is still here I am grateful for that. 

I am angry with myself because I didn`t make better financial decisions in my life. It would be nice now to have that security. Should I have stayed in a lousy marriage? would that have meant private health care ? would that really make a difference. Why didn`t I train harder, save better, etc.

My ex commands me to demand Katrina is put on `new drugs `. Katrina is 33 and has a hubby. She sees her father once or twice a year.

My eldest son Mark is researching `health food supplements that are excellent in the fight against cancer`. He spent £40 today in the health food shop. The need to do something, anything is all consuming.

I wish everyone well who is fighting or supporting anyone with this insidious disease.


© Licensed to 28/10/2014 London, UK. British Dental Foundation Mouth Cancer Action Month launch at the House of Commons, Westminster. Photo credit : Simon Jacobs

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

A Fabulous Weekend in Liverpool 

As the Virgin train pulled into Liverpool Lime Street on Saturday 23rd May my sister Mary and I were as excited as children. We were going to spend two days in Liverpool and have dinner on the Queen Mary 2.

As guests of Cunard we stayed at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Old Hall Street, which has river views. I was the lucky winner of this competition run by Visit Liverpool

We are scousers too, though we live down south now, so this was a coming home weekend for us.

View of Queen Mary 2 from restaurant window, Radisson Blu  Hotel

The 3 Cunard Queens, the Queen Mary 2,  Queen Elizabeth II and the Queen Victoria were going to visit Liverpool and  `dance` on the famous river Mersey.

Fabulous modern hotel

 On Saturday we visited the magnificent Albert dock and Pier Head.

Albert Docks
Three Graces _ Liver birds, Cunard Building and Port of Liverpool Building

We then took a tour bus which was fantastic value at £10 per person. The tour takes you past the famous cavern walks were the Beatles played. Both the cities Cathedrals can be seen on the tour and the amazing buildings like St Georges Hall, the Art Gallery and Museum. A lively commentary gives you a history of the city, you can get off the bus at any of the sites and rejoin it later.

Hanover Street in the city was buzzing with people and seemed the perfect place to eat. We went to Tia Pan Chinese Buffet restaurant which was excellent and recommended by a local cabbie. Then on to the famous Adelphi Hotel to gaze at the grandeur of days gone by. We also sampled the wine at the Irish Bars.

Sunday and we were going to the magnificent Queen Mary 2 at 6pm. We spent a few hours in the Ark Fitness Centre next door to the hotel using the pool, sauna and steam room. All wonderfully relaxing and complementary if you are a guest in the hotel. 

 Welcome Aboard!

 The Queen Mary 2 in Ice

On board Spa - wow!

View from the deck

Luxury Aboard
Liverbirds from Queen Mary 2

I could easily get used to this life!

 Freedom of the City Award to Cunard

All this attention, Mary who is 75 in a few weeks thought the whole evening was brilliant.

One way to have fun on the Mersey!

A Mersey Ferry 

Wow that is some liner!

Queen Mary 2 at Pier Head Liverpool

We were able to watch the light show on the 3 Graces and the firework display from the front deck of the Queen Mary 2. How wonderful was that!

Hundreds of thousands of people came into Liverpool to see the 3 Queens on Monday 25th May. We managed only a glimpse of the 3 liners together but we had an amazing weekend.

Thank you to everyone involved in providing this memorable, fabulous prize. Cunard, Virgin trains and Visit Liverpool.

 Albert Dock Liverpool

This is the photo I won this fabulous prize with, it was taken in 1990 when Queen Elizabeth II sailed into Liverpool for the first time in many years. The photo shows me, my son Anthony and daughter Katrina and was taken by Tony Reid.

Tags, Liverpool, Visit Liverpool, Cunard, Albert dock, Pier head, Virgin Trains, Radisson Hotels